New guidelines promulgated by a top Biden administration official on Thursday advise immigration enforcement agents that being in the country illegally is not by itself enough reason to arrest somebody.
More than 11 million illegal immigrants are estimated to be in the United States, but Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not have the resources to arrest and seek to remove all of them, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memorandum laying out the guidelines. He urged agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an office inside DHS, to exercise “discretion” in enforcing immigration rules.
“The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” he wrote.
“We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country’s well-being require it,” he added.
Only illegal immigrants who pose a threat to national security, pose a threat to public safety, or pose a threat to border security should be targeted for removal, according to the guidelines.
Triggers include a noncitizen committing certain crimes or having a serious prior criminal record; being engaged or suspected of terrorism or espionage; or being apprehended while trying to illegally enter the United States at the border.
Being in the country without a green card or other legitimatization documents means a person can be removed under U.S. law. The new guidelines mean the administration is acknowledging that it won’t enforce the law, critics immediately charged.
“The person who swore an oath to uphold immigration law *as written by Congress* has declared that immigration law will be upheld according only to his diktats,” NumbersUSA, which advocates for lower immigration levels as a way to “allow present and future generations of Americans to enjoy a stabilizing U.S. population,” wrote in a social media post.
The guidance comes as the United States under President Joe Biden sees record-setting levels of illegal immigration. Some experts believe a new fiscal year record will likely be set when the numbers for September come in and are almost certain that at the current pace of border crossings—which rose during the hot summer months instead of following the typical trendline—the yearly record will be eclipsed.
Biden upon taking office halted construction of the border wall, stopped the Trump era “Remain in Mexico” program, and curtailed use of emergency pandemic powers to expel illegal immigrants. The policies have served to entice illegal immigration, according to experts, immigrants, and members of Congress from both parties.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) linked the jump in illegal immigration to the increasing lack of in-country enforcement seen in Mayorkas’s memo.
“The Biden administration has welcomed the flood of illegal aliens crossing our border and is now promising those same illegal aliens that they may stay in the U.S. without repercussions,” he said on Twitter.
This is an excerpt from The Epoch Times.
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